8 years ago

Volume 9 Issue 1 - September 2003

  • Text
  • Toronto
  • Jazz
  • September
  • Festival
  • Sept
  • October
  • Theatre
  • Musical
  • Arts
  • Instruments

Last but far from least:

Last but far from least: ~'Toronto's" ~inal Jazz Festivals by Phil Ehrensaft Today's real GTA stretches from Port Hope in the East to Guelph and Waterloo in the West, and then southwards to Hamilton. Two , innovative celebrations of jazz as an art fo~ take place this month at the far ends of our hundred-mile long city. They wrap up "Toronto's" exceptionally fertile springsummer jazz festival scene, confirming ou~ megalopolis' place as a major player on the North American jazz stage. The tenth anniversary of the Guelph Jazz Festival, internationally recognized as an important event for both leading-edge jazz and the jazz scholarship on display in a parallel coriferenct;, takes place September 3-7. The second edition of Port Hope's new AII­ Canadian Jazz Festival, programmed by the Top, O' The Senator's manager, Sybil Walker, wraps up the warm weather celebrations on Septembt!r 19-21. Port Hope's' festival shows every promise of becoming a landmark event that draws jazz talent and .audiences from all regions of the country. · While the musical emphasis of the two festivals is different, they follow a common, community volunteer-based model for generating a very high level of musical programming , with relatively modest budgets. The Guelph Festival's founder and artistic director, Ajay Hebble, pioneered a path of community volunteers mounting a festival that features both major figures on the international avant-garde jazz scene and Canadian musicians, often on the same stage. This intermingling has been important in spreading the word internationally about Canadian avant-garde talent. Meanwhile Port Hope's Festival founder, tilm-maker David Acomba is part of the recent emigration of Toronto professional and high tech talent to the far eastern edge of the megalopolis, a shift facilitated by high-speed internet and sealed by the expansion of the 401 to six lanes past Oshawa to Port Hope. Films about music have been integral to Acomba's' work across North Anierica. One current project is a documentary on the construction of the Canadian Opera Company's new home. The Jazz Festival originated in Acomba's desire to advance the cultural and economic developmen,t of his new home region via a festival which placed Canadian musicians front and centre. Mainstream jazz was the preferred genre, starting with Toronto musicians in the first year but encompassing talent from across the country as the festival matured. It would be hard to imagine a better choice than Sybil Walker as the festival's artistic director. . Acomba was impressed by Guelph's volunteer-based organization and decided to follow a parallel model. Hebble, a literature professor at tlie university that is the cornerstone of Guelph's towh life, could start building , a volunteer base on campus. Acomba began ' · with strong community networks in a town noted for its pioneering efforts in preser·ving historic architecture, plus the new arrivals from central Toronto, esp~cially highly skilled recent · retirees. The Guelph and, Port Hope festivals are inspiring precedents for rooting art music in the wider' community. The music that takes place is equally inspiring. Let's tum our attention to the festivals' programs, which certainly justify jaunts to the peripheries of the new Toronto megalopolis during the first and third weekends of this inonth. GuELPH OUTDOES ITSELF The Guelph Festival's programming has been consistently strong, but this year's tenth annivers_ary celebration is very, very special. The 290'.3 festival has three pillars: 1) a Renee Rosnes commissioned jazz opera, Quebecite, composed by D.D. Jackson, a young Canadian · ALL-CANADIAN _JAZZ . pianist who's made quite a name for himself in In 1985, a 23 year-old Canadian jazz pianist the Big Apple's super-competitive jazz scene; packed her suitcases and headed to New York 2) a fine sampling of the best of the best in to see if she had what it took to make it in the avant-garde jazz; 3) jazz and human rights as world's jazz capital. Did she ever! Four years the focus of this year's colloquium, an entirely later, Blue Note released.her first recording as appropriate theme for art music that arose from a leader, and she's been with this leading jazz the ashes of slavery. label ever since then. A list of the people . The challenges of Jove for inter-racial and Renee Rosnes has played with constitutes a mter-cultural co 1 uples are at the centre of -, who'.s who of the hard bop world. Rosnes ' Jackson's opera, challenges that he knows . alone makes it worth a drive to the Port Hope, directly as the offspring of an African-Canadian and she's far from the only standout in the Allfather and East Indian mother. Riding the Canadian jazz festival. .buses and suqways of Canada's cities and Kollage, an ensemble Jed by two Toronto observing young couples in Jove is sufficient ~o hard bop pioneers, drummer Archie Alleyne demon:'trate. that these challenges are now and saxophonist Doug Richardson, will get the becommg widespread experiepces. ,festival off to a roaring start, especially when Between Jackson's compositiohs and a they're joined by jazz diva Jackie Rkhardson. libretto by George Elliot Clark, the recipient of "Tenor Madness,." joining Alex Dean, Mike a Governor-General's award for poetry, we Murley, Michael Stuart, and Rick Wilkins should be in for an exciting evening when the should be one searing blowing session. opera premieres on September 5. The cast Revelation III, the inner circle vocal trio appropriately blends singers of African, Asian from the f~ed Montreal Jubilation Gospel and European origins. They're supported by a Choir, is not to be missed. Nor is Vancouver's stellar jazz ensemble led by Jackson on piano Denzel Sinclaire, a worthy candidate for and organ. Don't wait too long to get tickets. .Canada's top male jazz vocalist. It's not that The concert line-up is a treat for avant- long since pianist David Braid graduated magna garde aficionados and a dream crash course for cum laude from the U. of T. 's jazz program. neophytes. Leading lights from the U.S. He already ranks among the top jazz pianists in include soprano sax giant Steve Lacy, trombon- the country. Then there are the Paul Neufeld ist and music theory innovator George Lewis, Group's moving jazz improvisationS based on pianist standouts Myra Melford and Vijay Iyer, 19th century African-American spirituals. and the elegant bass of Mark Dresser. From Last bu,t not least are gigs combining some ~sterdam, there'.s Wilhelm Breuker and his of the leading lights of Canadian jazz with gifted Joyous Kollectif. London-based Evan Parker is high school students who will make the music on most critics' short list of adventurous survive and thrive. saxophonists. He'll play solo and 'also with two colleagues from TO: composer and electronic improviser Sarah Peebles, and guitarist Nilan Perara. And there's David Mott. When he's not teaching classical composition at York University, Professor Mott travels the globe as one of the top baritone saxophonists in jazz. For informa~ion on The Guelph Jazz. F~stival, go to, or telephone: (519) 763-4952. For The All-Canadian Jazz Festival, go to:, telephone (905) 885- 1938ortoll-jree: 1-866-565-5009 30 September 1 - October 7 2003

On Opera by Christopher Haile An exciting and varied year is in store for opera-lovers in the 2003-04 season. At the time of writing 27fully staged works have been announced along with at le

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